Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
THE DISTRICT COURT OF TRAVIS COUNTY, 250TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
NO. D-1-FM-14-003084, HONORABLE KARIN CRUMP, JUDGE PRESIDING
Chief Justice Rose, Justices Pemberton and Bourland.
Rose, Chief Justice.
child-custody case, Timothy Onkst appeals the trial
court's final judgments on Jennifer Onkst's Motion
for Enforcement and Petition to Modify the Parent-Child
Relationship.For the reasons set forth below, we will
affirm the judgments of the trial court.
and Jennifer were married on December 23, 2010, and had their
first child, B.O., in October 2011. The couple separated and
subsequently reconciled on several occasions during that
time, and they separated for the last time on August 26,
2012, after police were called to respond to a domestic
altercation. On October 2, 2012, Jennifer obtained a two-year
protective order against Timothy that prohibited him from
going within 200 yards of Jennifer's home, her place of
employment, or their child's school (except to carry out
visitation). The parties finalized their divorce on December
12, 2013. In the final decree, Jennifer was named as sole
managing conservator of B.O., and Timothy was named
possessory conservator with visitation rights.
September 2014, Jennifer filed her live motion for
enforcement and petition to modify, alleging that Timothy had
violated the terms of the decree by failing to pay child
support as ordered; failing to attend orientation at Planet
Safe, a neutral exchange location agreed to by the parties
for their exchanges of B.O.; and failing to attend therapy
sessions as ordered. Jennifer further requested that Timothy
be held in contempt and confined for the violations, which
resulted in Timothy's being appointed counsel to
represent him in the enforcement matter. Timothy also filed a
motion to modify seeking, among other things, to reduce his
child-support obligation because he alleged his income had
changed and he could no longer pay the ordered amount. In
December 2014, Jennifer requested a new protective order
based on allegations that Timothy had violated the original
protective order by repeatedly sending her harassing text
messages in which he called her derogatory names. The trial
court granted the new protective order on January 27, 2015.
February 11, 2015, the trial court entered a Final Order on
Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship granting
Jennifer's enforcement request, holding Timothy in
contempt because he had not satisfied his child-support
obligation under the terms of the parties' divorce
decree, granting Jennifer's requested modification of the
terms of the visitation schedule, and denying Timothy's
request to lower his child-support obligation. Jennifer filed
a Motion to Modify, Correct, or Reform Judgment on March 11,
2015, seeking adjustments to the decree to allow for
enforcement. On March 13, 2015, Timothy filed his own Motion
to Modify, Correct, or Reform Judgment. The trial court
issued a Clarifying Order on April 14, 2015, in which it
clarified issues relating to the exchange of B.O. and
modified Timothy's periods of possession. Timothy
subsequently filed an Amended Motion to Modify and an Amended
Motion for New Trial, which the trial court denied on July 7,
2015. This appeal followed.
raises ten issues in his pro se brief, complaining
of the trial court's admission and exclusion of evidence,
the failure of certain witnesses to appear during trial, the
trial court's consideration of issues that he asserts
were previously determined in earlier proceedings, and his
lack of counsel at the protective-order hearing.
addition to responding to the merits of Timothy's claims,
Jennifer asserts that Timothy's brief is inadequate and
that he has therefore waived all of his issues. Although we
hold pro se litigants to the same standards as those
represented by counsel, see Mansfield State Bank v.
Cohn, 573 S.W.2d 181, 184-85 (Tex. 1978); see also
Stewart v. Texas Health & Human Servs. Comm'n,
No. 03-09-00226-CV, 2010 WL 5019285, at *2 n.1 (Tex.
App.-Austin Dec. 9, 2010, no pet.) (mem. op.), we must also
liberally construe briefs and strive to reach the merits
whenever possible, First United Pentecostal Church of
Beaumont v. Parker, 514 S.W.3d 214, 221-22 (Tex. 2017)
(quoting Perry v. Cohen, 272 S.W.3d 585, 587 (Tex.
2008)). Accordingly, we will address Timothy's issues to
the extent we are able to divine his arguments. See
Forbes v. Forbes, No. 03-15-00130-CV, 2016 WL 612175, at
*4 (Tex. App.-Austin Feb. 12, 2016, no pet.) (mem.op.)
(citing Stewart v. Texas Health & Human Servs.
Comm'n, No. 03-09-00226-CV, 2010 WL 5019285, at *1
n.1 (Tex. App.-Austin Dec. 9, 2010, no pet.) (mem.op.))
(addressing pro se issues "as best we can"
in the interest of justice).
1: Exclusion of Telephone Records
first issue, Timothy asserts that the trial court would not
consider telephone records offered at "trial, or in
post-trial hearings on June 16, 2015 or October 16,
2015." We have no reporter's record from any
post-trial hearings on June 16, 2015 or October 16, 2015, and
we have only a partial reporter's record from the final
hearing. In the portion of the record we have before us,
Timothy did not offer any telephone records into evidence.
Even assuming that such evidence was offered during the
trial, without a complete reporter's record on appeal, we
are unable to determine whether the trial court erred.
See Tex. R. App. P. 37.3(c); In re Spiegel,
6 S.W.3d 643, 646 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 1999, no pet.).
Accordingly, we must assume that the omitted parts of the
record support the trial court's judgment. See
Bennett v. Cochran, 96 S.W.3d 227, 230 (Tex. 2002)
("The court of appeals was correct in holding that,
absent a complete record on appeal, it must presume the
omitted items supported the trial court's
judgment."); Hughes v. Armadillo Props. for Lina
Roberts, No. 03-15-00698-CV, 2016 WL 5349380, at *2
(Tex. App.-Austin Sept. 20, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.);
Hebisen v. Clear Creek Indep. Sch. Dist., 217 S.W.3d
527, 536 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2006, no pet.)
("Where there is no reporter's record and no
findings of fact, we assume the trial court heard sufficient
evidence to make all necessary findings in support of its
overrule Timothy's first issue.